Trouble at Jeff Bezos's Washington Post?

Trouble at Jeff Bezos's Washington Post?

~ From Washingtonian ~
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Jeff Bezos made his fortune fending off his employees’ attempts to organize into unions, but now that he owns the Washington Post he’s going to have to take a seat at the negotiating table, and it’s not off to a great start. Several dozen Posties, upset with Bezos’s proposed cuts to their pensions and severance pay, turned 15th and L into a picket line Thursday afternoon.The Post, now a year into the Bezos era, wants to freeze its unionized workers’ pension plan and introduce a cash-balance model, which provides a lump sum or annuity on retirement, rather than the traditional plan which guarantees benefits regardless of market conditions. The switch only affects people hired before September 2009; newer employees will be given 401(k) retirement plans and supplemental savings accounts.Bezos’s side also proposes cutting severance benefits in half from two weeks’ pay for every year saved to just one. A flier printed by Local 32035, the union representing Post employees, suggests that employees could be let go with even less if Bezos’s proposals go through. “[The] Post thinks that an employee who served two years—doing things such as covering a hurricane, or delivering newspapers in a hurricane—should be okay with two weeks’ pay,” the flier reads. “Oh, and cake.”These are suggested changes that longtime staff writer Fredrick Kunkle, a co-chair of the local, says will turn the paper from a career destination to a “way-station” where journalists only stay for a few years before moving on. And the Post’s pension plan, unlike many other newspapers’, is relatively robust. It was $604 million ahead of its outstanding liabilities when Bezos bought the paper, a financial position earned by following some smart advice Warren Buffett offered Katherine Graham in 1975.

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